GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH Josh Pastner
“Bottom line is: until we get Tadric [Jackson] or Josh [Okogie] back, we’re going to be relying on our young guys. Besides Ben Lammers, nobody has really played significant, key minutes, whether it’s the freshmen, returning guys or anybody we signed. It’s just going to be a grind for us. And I’ve said it many times before, this year is going to be very similar to last year that November and December could be a little rocky and a little up and down. As we get toward ACC play, you’ll see us get better and better and better, that’s what I believe. The good news is we found a way to win. It was an unorthodox two weeks for us – and I’m making zero excuses for us – but you’re a week away in China, 13-hour time difference and then you’re back, and it takes a little while to adjust. With everything, it was an unorthodox two weeks. It was good to get a win, and we found a way to win, which is positive with all these young guys. We’ll have to continue to get better and play better. Our biggest issue today was our 19 turnovers … Against UCLA only had 11 turnovers and today 19. We just don’t have that margin for error to be able to do that.”
On the full-court pressure that Bethune-Cookman applied and its effect on the game
“We and them tried to grind it out a little bit with some of their full-court press just to try to wear some clock. And it probably wore on Justin [Moore] and Jose [Alvarado] a little bit too, especially Jose, he played a lot of minutes. And he did have six total rebounds, which is a great stat. But that’s just who we are going to be for right now. UCLA, we held them to 63, today we held them to 62.”
On Abdoulaye Gueye hitting the clutch free throws to up their lead to three with 7.6 seconds left
“Really proud of AD to stick those two free throws at the end there. That was a big thing. Out of the timeout, we said get the ball to Ben and don’t pass it, let them foul you, because they’re going to foul you. And then he passed it. And you know, you saw Ben, he said ‘I’m sorry, coach, I forgot.’ But you know what, to AD’s credit, he stayed after practice yesterday and made 100 free throws, which he did and it paid off.”
On correcting the 19 turnovers going forward
“All we’ve done the last two weeks is, ‘sureness’ drills, I call them. Just being sure with the ball. Pass and catch. We would be 2-0 if we took better care of the ball and were better in fastbreak opportunities. How many layups have we missed on fastbreak opportunities? The biggest thing in this game, we had three five-point swings that were not in our favor. We’d be ready to open it up, and then we would make not a smart play. It’s just going to come through experience. We’re a very young team. That team today, they’re older. They’re a senior-led team.”
On Bethune-Cookman shooting 10-for-25 from the free-throw line
“Obviously that helped. Thankfully they did. And, you know, we shot 24-for-31. That was probably the difference in the game when you take all the other stats out. Our free-throw shooting to their free-throw shooting.”
BETHUNE-COOKMAN HEAD COACH RYAN RIDDER
“It’s been an eight-day road trip and we’ve challenged our guys to just get better day-by-day and game-by-game. I thought tonight we did a great job of coming out and competing and playing a quality ball club like Georgia Tech. I thought we executed our game plan. We were disciplined. We’re proud of our guys’ effort. Obviously, we didn’t help ourselves from the free throw line. But at the end of the day this thing is a work in progress. [We’re] just extremely, extremely proud of our guys taking a step in the right direction for our program.”
What do you take away from a game like this?
“You get an opportunity to play a high-major program on the road and get a chance to face some adversity. Being a first year coach and having a lot of new guys the more we can actually play together in these types of environments the better we’re going to be in the long run.”
Did the long road trip affect the free throw shooting?
“I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for that one. I feel like we’re a solid free throw shooting group. We had the right guys taking the free throws. Maybe it is playing on the road, but we just didn’t get it done from that area tonight.”
What did you know about Brandon Tabb before arriving at Bethune-Cookman?
“Brandon and I actually go back three or four years. He was at the rival junior college, the College of Central Florida, and we had massive scouting reports on him. I was very familiar with him and his game. When I got hired he was the first to reach out to me. He’s given us every ounce that he’s had since that April 1st day. He can score it, but equally important is how great of a kid he is and continuing to get better every day.”
Will returning home be a positive change for the team?
“We’ll be excited to get back to Moore Gymnasium. If you haven’t been there, it’s one of the greatest college atmospheres out there. We get great support and we’re 1-0 there. We think our guys play really, really well [there]. I know they’ll be excited to sleep in their own bed. It’s a quick turnaround, we play Tuesday, but I think our guys we’ll be extremely happy to be back in Moore Gymnasium.”
Did your team become less aggressive offensively as the game wore on?
“We challenged our guys to have a disciplined game plan offensively. We didn’t want to try to get in a track meet. I know Georgia Tech plays a very unique style. We challenged our guys to take great shots vs. good shots. Maybe some of that tentativeness could have been as things got a little tighter. It’s our first time playing a close game, but I thought we did a great job executing offensively. The numbers don’t show that we were great, but I thought we controlled the tempo that we wanted.”
Why did you decide to press?
“We wanted to take them out of their offense. We didn’t want to guard that wheel action for 30 seconds. We decided we’d slow press them and try and get them 7-8 seconds down the floor before they were able to start their offense.”